WORLD JUNIORS

Where are they now? Canada's 2006 squad that last won gold in B.C.

The last time the world junior hockey championship was held in B.C., Canada won gold. Where are the members of that underdog team 13 years later?

Justin Pogge led underdog Canadians to 5-0 win over rival Russia in final

Team Canada celebrates after winning the gold medal in 2006 at Vancouver following a 5-0 victory over Russia. (Canadian Press)

Team Canada is rarely, if ever, an underdog on home ice, but that was the case ahead of the 2006 tournament, the last time it was held in B.C. 

The squad returned only one player and lacked an established junior star such as Russia's Evgeni Malkin or American Phil Kessel. Nonetheless, the relatively unheralded team not only went on to win gold, it dominated the tournament, defeating Russia 5-0 in the final.

Here is where members of that team are today:

Head coach

Brent Sutter

Team Canada coach Brent Sutter says that unheralded 2006 squad was on a mission. (Canadian Press)

"We were basically a brand new team and 21 new faces, yet the kids from day one had a mission that they had set," Sutters says of the '06 team. 

Sutter later coached in the NHL with New Jersey and Calgary. He is the owner, president, and general manager of the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. 

Goaltender

Justin Pogge

Canada goalie Justin Pogge celebrates after defeating Russia 5-0 to win the gold medal in 2006. (Canadian Press)

Pogge started every game for Canada, giving up just six goals and recording three shutouts, including the gold-medal win over Russia.

"I was nervous as hell before every game," Pogge, now 32, remembers with a chuckle.

After '06 Pogge was called up by the Toronto Maple Leafs, appearing in seven games before stops in the ECHL and American Hockey League.

In 2012, he made the jump to Europe and is now in his third season with Rögle BK of the Swedish Hockey League.

"I'm very confident in my game now and I've grown a lot as a person," he says "If that [NHL] chance ever comes up again I would love to take it. But I've built a good life here."

Devan Dubnyk 

The No. 1 goalie with the Minnesota Wild, Dubnyk is in his 10th NHL season that includes stops in Edmonton, Nashville and Arizona.

Defence

Ryan Parent

Defenceman Ryan Parent, who won world junior gold in 2006 and 2007, is now a coach in the American Hockey League. (Getty Images)

Parent remembers how the '06 team never bought in to the lowered expectations for Team Canada. 

"We were expecting to do as well as we did," he says. "We ended up having a great team." 

After '06, Parent, 31, won another world juniors the following year before joining the Philadelphia Flyers, with whom he played in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.

He's now in his first year as a coach, working as an assistant for the AHL's Binghamton Devils.

"It's so different, but it's been a lot of fun."

Marc Staal

Staal is in his 12th NHL season, all of them with the New York Rangers.

Kris Letang

Letang has played 12 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, winning three Stanley Cup championships.

Luc Bourdon

Bourdon ​appeared in 36 games over two seasons for the Vancouver Canucks, but his promising career was cut short in 2008 when he was killed in a motorcycle accident near his hometown in New Brunswick. He was 21.

Cam Barker

After nine seasons with four teams in the NHL, Barker now plays with Tampere of the Finnish Elite League. 

Justin Pogge, middle, Cam Barker, left, and Devan Dubnyk sing the national anthem after winning gold. (Canadian Press)

Kris Russell

Russell plays for the Edmonton Oilers, his fifth team over a 12-year NHL career. 

Sasha Pokulok

Pokulok never made the NHL but continues to play. He's now with Les Pétroliers du Nord in the Quebec-based LNAH.

Forwards

Dan Bertram

Daniel Bertram, a forward with Canada's 2006 world junior squad, now works for a capital market company in Calgary. (Getty Images)

Bertram's standout memory of the 2006 tournament was the atmosphere during warmups ahead of the Canada-Russia gold-medal game. 

"You had every person in GM Place standing, screaming and the whole place was in red jerseys or red T-shirts," he says.

Following the tournament, Bertram played two more seasons at Boston College before two years in the minors. 

"I just said, hey, there's other things in life that I do that kind of excite me and hockey is going to have a finite time."

He lives in his hometown of Calgary and works with a capital market company. 

"It was just it was time to try something different."

Steve Downie

Downie spent nine turbulent seasons with five teams in the NHL that included a 20-game suspension for a hit on Ottawa's Dean McAmmond. He last played in 2016 for the Arizona Coyotes.

Andrew Cogliano

The Anaheim Ducks forward is in his 12th NHL season and once held the NHL's active "iron man" streak with 830 consecutive games played. 

Blake Comeau

Now with the Dallas Stars, Comeau has played for six different NHL teams. 

Dustin Boyd

Canada's Dustin Boyd, who went on to have NHL stints with Calgary, Nashville and Montreal, has played for Kazakhstan's Barys Astana in the KHL since 2011. (Getty Images)

Boyd had stints with Calgary, Nashville and Montreal but has played for Kazakhstan's Barys Astana in the KHL since 2011. In 2016, he represented his adopted country at the IIHF world championships. 

Kyle Chipchura

After 10 NHL seasons with three teams, Chipchura left for the KHL in 2016 where he plays with Bratislava Slovan.

Dave Bolland

Bolland is under contract to the Arizona Coyotes, but hasn't played since 2016 because of injury. 

Guillaume Latendresse

Latendresse retired in 2014 after nine pro seasons. He coaches minor hockey and also works in hockey media. 

Team Canada was an underdog on home ice in 2006, with just one returning player and lacked an established junior star such as Russia's Evgeni Malkin or American Phil Kessel. (Canadian Press)

Mike Blunden

Blunden played sporadically over parts of 11 NHL seasons and is now with Austrian team Bolzano HC. 

Ryan O'Marra

O'Marra struggled to break into the NHL, playing just 33 games in parts of four seasons with Edmonton and Anaheim.

He's found a new career in finance, working in fixed income trading for a firm in the U.K. 

Tom Pyatt

Pyatt his eighth NHL season and third with the Ottawa Senators. 

Jonathan Toews

Toews emerged as superstar at the 2007 world juniors, leading Canada to another gold medal. He's since won two Olympic golds, three Stanley Cups and a Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff most valuable player. 

Benoît Pouliot

Pouliot has played for seven NHL teams, most recently the Buffalo Sabres in 2017-18. He's still looking for a team this season. 

Forward Blake Comeau holds the trophy as he and his teammates celebrate their 2006 world junior championship. (Canadian Press)

About the Author

Matthew Black

@TheMatthewBlack

Matthew Black is a B.C.-based writer, producer and reporter. He writes mostly about sports and has worked for CBC in Toronto and Vancouver as well as abroad in London.

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